New fire district board members elected, 2 mill tax levy passes
Both the East Grand and Hot Sulphur Springs-Parshall Fire Protection Districts held special elections for their respective boards of directors on May 3, and the winners were chosen.
Rachel Hoyhtya, Garth Hein and Richard Kramer all earned three-year terms on the East Grand board with 127, 101 and 86 votes respectively. Hein and Kramer retained their seats while Hoyhtya is a new director. The three beat out Stephen Loo, who received 63 votes.
East Grand’s Fire Chief Todd Holzworth said he was pleased both with how smoothly the election went and with the results.
“We have one new person and she’s a retired firefighter. We know her very well,” he said of Hoyhtya. And while Loo wasn’t reelected, “he’s been a tremendous asset for years,” Holzworth said.
In the Hot Sulphur Springs-Parshall race, both Hannah Corbin and Meredith Howe were uncontested in their bids for a one-year term on the board of directors (Corbin) and a three-year term (Howe).
Hot Sulphur Springs-Parshall voters also approved a levy increase of 2 mills to pay operating, capital expenses and other costs at the district. This will result in a tax increase of $75,794 in 2023, which translates to an annual tax increase of $14.30 for each $100,000 of value on a single-family residency.
Hot Sulphur Springs-Parshall Fire Chief and District Administrator Tom Baumgarten said the district is excited by the vote because the additional funds will open avenues for the future of the department, as far as funding things like equipment for volunteers, the addition of more water tanks around the district, and upgrades for their buildings.
Baumgarten said the additional monies will help in the future “as the district has to start hiring full-time staff and part-time firefighters to make up for the shortage of volunteers and high demand of the fire service.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us in the next few years with (the state of) wildfire and the population growth up here,” he added. “Call volume has tripled in the last 10 years, and this will help with everything from EMS calls to vehicle crashes to other responses. I want to thank all of the voters for turning out and voting for this. It’s something we’ve been working toward for a while, and it’s the faith that our district has in our fire department that has allowed it to grow.”
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